Biodiversity & Conservation

, Volume 14, Issue 5, pp 1263–1280 | Cite as

The Jungle Cat Felis chaus in Indochina: a threatened population of a widespread and adaptable species

  • J. W. DuckworthEmail author
  • C. M. Poole
  • R. J. Tizard
  • J. L. Walston
  • R. J. Timmins


The Jungle Cat Felis chaus is widespread in India and neighbouring countries but is known by only one historical specimen from Cambodia, Laos or Vietnam (Indochina), widely published as from Vietnam, but in fact from Cambodia. All but two of the recent Indochinese records come from extensive natural lowland habitat dominated by deciduous dipterocarp forest in northeast Cambodia. The species probably occurred more widely in Indochina, largely through additional use of secondary habitats, where hunting pressure is now very heavy. Suggestions of decline in Indochina are corroborated by more conclusive evidence from Thailand. In Indochina, all other small and medium-sized cats are recorded much more frequently than Jungle Cat: closed evergreen forest supports source populations of them, but there is no evidence that Jungle Cat uses extensively such forest. The open forests of northern and eastern Cambodia are highly significant for conserving threatened biodiversity, notably large waterbirds, vultures and ungulates, groups where species formerly widespread across Indochina have contracted in range and declined steeply. These taxa were better collected than small cats and it seems plausible that Jungle Cat showed a similar change. Jungle Cat conservation in Indochina needs extensive habitat retention with intensive anti-poaching activities, because suitable habitat is easily accessible to hunters. The habitat adaptability shown elsewhere by Jungle Cat could allow a much healthier regional conservation status if hunting (including trapping) can be greatly reduced in scrub and agricultural habitats, but changing culturally ingrained hunting practices will take a long time.


Cambodia Conservation status Deciduous dipterocarp forest Felis chaus Geographical distribution Hunting pressure Laos Limited historical data Vietnam 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Acharjyo, L.N. 1998The six small cats of Orissa Envis (Wildlife and Protected Areas), Vol.1Wildlife Institute of IndiaDehra Dun, India1820Google Scholar
  2. Art East.1992A 1930s Guide to Saigon, Phnom Penhand AngkorAsia BooksBangkok, ThailandGoogle Scholar
  3. Bodenheimer, F.S. 1958The present taxonomic status of the terrestrial mammals of PalestineBulletin of the Research Council of Israel7B165190Google Scholar
  4. BirdLife International.2001Threatened Birds of Asia: The BirdLife International Red Data BookBirdLife InternationalCambridgeUKGoogle Scholar
  5. [BIVN/FIPI] BirdLife International Vietnam Programme/Forest Inventory and Planning Institute.2001Sourcebook of existing and proposed protected areas in VietnamBirdLife International Vietnam Programme and the Forest Inventory and Planning InstituteHanoiVietnamGoogle Scholar
  6. Brickle, N., Nguyen, C., Ha, Q.Q., Nguyen, T.T.C., Hoang, V.S. 1998The status and distribution of Green Peafowl Pavo muticus in Dak Lak ProvinceVietnamBirdLife International Vietnam Programme/Institute of Ecology and Biological Resources (Conservation Report 1)HanoiVietnamGoogle Scholar
  7. Cheminaud, G. 1939Mes chasses au Laos, Vol 1PayotParis, FranceGoogle Scholar
  8. Corbet, G.B., Hill, J.E. 1992Mammals of the Indomalayan Region: A Systematic ReviewNatural History Museum Publications and Oxford University PressLondon and OxfordUKGoogle Scholar
  9. Cox R., Laurie A. and Woodford M. 1992. The results of four field surveys for Kouprey Bos sauveli in Viet Nam and Lao PDR. Kouprey Conservation Trust.Google Scholar
  10. Dang, H.H. eds. 1994Danh Luc Cac Loai Thu (Mammalia) Viet Nam [Checklist of the mammals of Vietnam]Publishing House ‘Science and Technics’HanoiVietnamGoogle Scholar
  11. Davidson, P. 1999Spotcheck of wildlife on sale in Myanmar marketTRAFFIC Bulletin173344Google Scholar
  12. Davidson, P., Poole, C., Walston, J. 2001Cambodia’s northern plains–heartland of the Giant IbisWorld Birdwatch231618Google Scholar
  13. Davison, A., Birks, J.D.S., Brookes, R.C., Braithwaite, T.C., Messenger, J.E. 2002On the origin of faeces: morphological versus molecular methods for surveying rare carnivores from their scatsJournal of Zoology, London257141143Google Scholar
  14. Delacour, J. 1928Quatrième expédition en Indo-chineL’Oiseau9257–269301–308.Google Scholar
  15. Delacour, J. 1929On birds collected during the fourth expedition to French Indo-ChinaIbis12 93–220403–429Google Scholar
  16. Delacour, J. 1933Dix ans d’explorations zoologiques en IndochineTerre et Vie3539550Google Scholar
  17. Delacour, J. 1940Liste provisoire des mammifères de l’Indochine françaiseMammalia420–2946–58Google Scholar
  18. Desai, A.A., Lic, V. 1996Status and distribution of large mammals in eastern CambodiaIUCN/FFI/WWFPhnom PenhCambodiaGoogle Scholar
  19. Deuve, J. 1972Les mammifères du LaosMinistère de l’Education NationalVientiane LaosGoogle Scholar
  20. Duckworth, J.W. 1997Small carnivores in Laos: a status review with notes on ecology, behaviour and conservationSmall Carnivore Conservation16121Google Scholar
  21. Duckworth, J.W. 1998A survey of large mammals in the central Annamite mountains of Laos Zeitschrift für Säugetierkunde63239250Google Scholar
  22. Duckworth, J.W., Hedges, S. 1998A review of the status of Tiger Asian Elephant Gaur and Banteng in Vietnam Lao Cambodia and Yunnan (China), with recommendations for future conservation actionWWF Indochina ProgrammeHanoim, VietnamGoogle Scholar
  23. Duckworth, J.W., Timmins, R.J., Cozza, K. 1993A wildlife and habitat survey of Phou Xang He Proposed Protected AreaLao/Swedish Forestry Co-operation ProgrammeVientiane LaosGoogle Scholar
  24. Duckworth, J.W., Timmins, R.J., Thewlis, R.C.M., Evans, T.D., Anderson, G.Q.A. 1994Field observations of mammals in Laos, 1992–1993Natural History Bulletin of the Siam Society42 177205Google Scholar
  25. Duckworth, J.W., Anderson, G.Q.A., Desai, A.A., Steinmetz, R. 1998A clarification of the status of the Asiatic Jackal Canis aureus in IndochinaMammalia62549556CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Duckworth, J.W., Salter, R.E., Khounboline, K. 1999Wildlife in Lao PDR: 1999 Status ReportIUCN–The World Conservation Union/Wildlife Conservation Society/Centre for Protected Areas and Watershed ManagementVientianeLaosGoogle Scholar
  27. Duckworth, J.W., Davidson, P., Evans, T.D., Round, P.D., Timmins, R.J. 2002Bird records from North Laos, principally Xiangkhouang Province and the upper Lao Mekong, in 1998–2000Forktail181144Google Scholar
  28. Duckworth J.W., Poole C.M., Round P.D., Timmins R.J., Davidson P. and Wells D.R. in-press. Vulture Gyps and Sarcogyps populations in South-east Asia during the twentieth century.Google Scholar
  29. Dumas, C. 1944La faune sauvage du CambodgeJournal of AsparSaigon, VietnamGoogle Scholar
  30. Eames, J.C., Ericson, P.G.P. 1996The Björkegren expedition to French Indochina: a collection of birds from Vietnam and CambodiaNatural History Bulletin of the Siam Society4475111Google Scholar
  31. Evans, T.D., Timmins, R.J. 1996The status of the Green Peafowl Pavo muticus in LaosForktail111132Google Scholar
  32. Fleck, D.W., Voss, R.S., Patton, J.L. 1999Biological basis of saki (Pithecia) folk species recognized by the Matses Indians of Amazonian PerúInternational Journal of Primatology2010051028Google Scholar
  33. Foran, D.R., Crooks, K.R., Minta, S.C. 1997Species identification from scat: an unambiguous genetic methodWildlife Society Bulletin25835839Google Scholar
  34. Gogate, M.G. 1998Smaller cats of MaharashtraEnvis (Wildlife and Protected Areas), Vol.1Wildlife Institute of IndiaDehra Dun, India513Google Scholar
  35. Graham, M., Round, P. 1994Thailand’s Vanishing Flora and FaunaFinance OneBangkok, ThailandGoogle Scholar
  36. Halfpenny, J. 1986A Field Guide to Mammal Tracking in Western AmericaJohnson BooksBoulder, ColoradoGoogle Scholar
  37. Harrison, D.L., Bates, P.J.J. 1991The Mammals of Arabia 3rd edn.Harrison Zoological MuseumSevenoaks, UKGoogle Scholar
  38. Hassinger, J.D. 1973A survey of the mammals of Afghanistan resulting from the 1965 Street expedition (excluding bats)Fieldiana, Zoology601195Google Scholar
  39. Hennache, A., Dickinson, E.C. 2000Les types des oiseaux rapportés du Vietnam du Laos et du Cambodge par Jean Delacour entre 1923 et 1939Zoosystema22601629Google Scholar
  40. IUCN 2002. 2002 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded from on 3 February 2003.Google Scholar
  41. Jha, A. 2000A preliminary status survey of cats in SikkimTigerpaper271214Google Scholar
  42. Karanth, K.U., Stith, B.M. 1999Prey depletion as a critical determinant of Tiger population viabilitySeidensticker, J.Christie, S.Jackson, P. eds. Riding the Tiger: Tiger Conservation in Human Dominated LandscapesCambridge University PressCambridgeUK100113Google Scholar
  43. Khan, M.A.R. 1986The status and distribution of the cats in BangladeshMiller, S.D.Everett, D.D. eds. Cats of the World: Biology, Conservation, and ManagementNational Wildlife FederationWashington, DC4349Google Scholar
  44. Kingdon, J. 1997The Kingdon Field Guide to African MammalsAcademic PressSan Diego, CaliforniaGoogle Scholar
  45. Le X.C., Pham T.A., Duckworth J.W., Vu N.T. and Lic Vuthy 1997. A Survey of Large Mammals in Dak Lak Province, Vietnam. WWF/IUCN, Hanoi, Vietnam.Google Scholar
  46. Légris, P., Blasco, F. 1972Notice de la carte de végétation du Cambodge au 1/1,000,000Travaux de la Section Scientifique et Technique de l’Institut francais de Pondichéry111238Google Scholar
  47. Lekagul, B., McNeely, J.A. 1977Mammals of ThailandAssociation for the Conservation of WildlifeBangkok, ThailandGoogle Scholar
  48. Li, W., Fuller, T.K., Wang, S. 1996A survey of wildlife trade in Guangxi and Guangdong, ChinaTRAFFIC Bulletin16916Google Scholar
  49. Long B., Swan S.R. and Kry M. 2000. Biological Surveys in Northeast Mondolkiri, Cambodia. Fauna & Flora International-Indochina Programme and the Wildlife Protection Office, Hanoi and Phnom Penh.Google Scholar
  50. Lowe W.P. 1947. The end of the trail. James Townsend & Sons Ltd, Exeter, UK.Google Scholar
  51. McMahan, L.R. 1986The international cat tradeMiller, S.D.Everett, D.D. eds. Cats of the World: Biology, Conservation, and ManagementNational Wildlife FederationWashington, DC461488Google Scholar
  52. MacPhee, R.D.E., Flemming, C. 1999Requiem æternam: the last five hundred years of mammalian extinctionsMacPhee, R.D.E. eds. Extinctions in Near TimeKluwer Academic and PlenumNew York333371Google Scholar
  53. Martin, E.B. 1992aThe trade and uses of wildlife products in LaosTRAFFIC Bulletin132328Google Scholar
  54. Martin, E.B. 1992bObservations on wildlife trade in VietnamTRAFFIC Bulletin136167Google Scholar
  55. Martin, E.B., Phipps, M. 1996A review of wild animal trade in CambodiaTRAFFIC Bulletin16 4560Google Scholar
  56. Men Soriyun2001Status and distribution of wild cattle in CambodiaTigerpaper28914Google Scholar
  57. Monestrol, H. 1952Chasses et faune d’IndochinePortailSaigon, VietnamGoogle Scholar
  58. [MOSTE] Ministry of ScienceTechnology and Environment1992Red Data Book of Vietnam: Volume 1, Animals[In Vietnamese.] Science and Technics Publishing HouseHanoiVietnamGoogle Scholar
  59. [MOSTE] Ministry of ScienceTechnology and Environment2000Red Data Book of Vietnam: Volume 1, Animals[In Vietnamese.] Science and Technics Publishing HouseHanoiVietnamGoogle Scholar
  60. Mukherjee, S. 1998aCats: some largemany smallEnvis (Wildlife and Protected Areas), Vol.1Wildlife Institute of IndiaDehra Dun, India 513Google Scholar
  61. Mukherjee, S. 1998bSome methods to study the small catsEnvis (Wildlife and Protected Areas),Vol.1Wildlife Institute of IndiaDehra Dun, India3538Google Scholar
  62. Nooren, H., Claridge, G. 2001Wildlife Trade in Laos: The End of the GameNetherlands Committee for IUCNAmsterdamThe NetherlandsGoogle Scholar
  63. Novikov, G.A. 1962Carnivorous mammals of the fauna of the USSRIsrael Program for Scientific TranslationsJerusalem, IsraelGoogle Scholar
  64. Nowell, K., Jackson, P. 1996Wild Cats: Status Survey and Conservation Action PlanIUCNGlandSwitzerlandGoogle Scholar
  65. [OEPP] Office of Environmental Policy and Planning. 1997. Status of Biological Diversity of Thailand. Office of Environmental Policy and Planning Bangkok, Thailand.Google Scholar
  66. Osborn, D.J., Helmy, I. 1980The contempory land mammals of Egypt (including Sinai)Fieldiana, Zoology (New Series)51579Google Scholar
  67. Osgood, W.H. 1932Mammals of the Kelley-Roosevelts and Delacour Asiatic expeditionsPublications of the Field Museum of Natural History, Zoology Series18193339Google Scholar
  68. Payne, J., Francis, C.M., Phillipps, K. 1985A Field Guide to the Mammals of BorneoThe Sabah Society with World Wildlife Fund MalaysiaKota Kinabalu and Kuala LumpurGoogle Scholar
  69. Pocock, R.I. 1939The Fauna of British India: MammaliaVol I, Primates and Carnivora (in part)Taylor and FrancisLondonGoogle Scholar
  70. Pocock, R.I. 1951Catalogue of the Genus FelisBritish Museum (Natural History)LondonGoogle Scholar
  71. Prater, S.H. 1971The Book of Indian Animals. 3rd ednBombay Natural History Society and Oxford University PressMumbaiIndia (as updated 1998)Google Scholar
  72. Roberts, T.J. 1977Mammals of PakistanErnest BennLondon and TonbridgeUKGoogle Scholar
  73. Round, P.D. 1998Wildlifehabitats and priorities for conservation in Dong Khanthung proposed National Biodiversity Conservation AreaChampasak ProvinceLao PDRWildlife Conservation Society/Centre for Protected Areas and Watershed ManagementVientianeLaosGoogle Scholar
  74. Schmid, M. 1974Végétation du Viet-Nam: le massif sud-annamitique et les régions limitrophesMémoires ORSTOM741243Google Scholar
  75. Sharma V.D. 1998. Small cats in Rajasthan. Envis (Wildlife and Protected Areas) 1 (2): 14–17.Wildlife Institute of India, Dehra Dun, India.Google Scholar
  76. Singh H.S. 1998. Records of small cats in Gujarat. Envis (Wildlife and Protected Areas) 1 (2): 22–23. Wildlife Institute of India, Dehra Dun, India.Google Scholar
  77. Srikosamatara, S., Suteethorn, V. 1994Wildlife conservation along the Thai-Lao borderNatural History Bulletin of the Siam Society42321Google Scholar
  78. Srikosamatara, S., Siripholdej, B., Suteethorn, V. 1992Wildlife trade in Lao P.D.R. and between Lao P.D.R. and ThailandNatural History Bulletin of the Siam Society40147Google Scholar
  79. Steinmetz, R. 1998A participatory biodiversity assessment of Khammouan Limestone National Biodiversity Conservation AreaKhammouan ProvinceLaoPDRWWF Thailand Project OfficeBangkok, ThailandGoogle Scholar
  80. Steinmetz, R., Mather, R. 1996Impact of Karen villages on the fauna of Thung Yai Naresuan Wildlife Sanctuary: a participatory research projectNatural History Bulletin of the Siam Society442340Google Scholar
  81. Stott, P. 1984The savanna forests of mainland southeast Asia: an ecological surveyProgress in Physical Geography8315335Google Scholar
  82. Thewlis, R.M., Timmins, R.J. 1996The rediscovery of Giant Ibis Pseudibis gigantea with a review of previous recordsBird Conservation International6317324CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  83. Thewlis, R.M.,  et al. 1996Ornithological records from Laos, 1992–1993Forktail1147100Google Scholar
  84. Thomas O. 1929. The Delacour exploration of French Indo-China – Mammals III. Mammals collected during the winter of 1927–28. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London ‘1928’ (4): 831–841.Google Scholar
  85. Thewlis R.M., Timmins R.J., Evans T.D. and Duckworth J.W. 1998. The conservation status of birds in Laos: a review of key species. Bird Conservation International 8 (Suppl.): 1–159.Google Scholar
  86. Thomas, O. 1929The Delacour exploration of French Indo-China – Mammals III. Mammals collected during the winter of 1927–28Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London ‘1928’4831841Google Scholar
  87. Thomas W.W. and Poole C.M. 2003. An annotated list of the birds of Cambodia from 1859 to 1970. Forktail 19: 103–127.Google Scholar
  88. Timmins, R.J., Duckworth, J.W. 1999Status and conservation of Douc Langurs (Pygathrix nemaeus) in LaosInternational Journal of Primatology20469489Google Scholar
  89. Timmins R.J. and Men S. 1998. A Wildlife Survey of the Tonle San and Tonle Srepok River Basins in Northeastern Cambodia. Fauna & Flora International and Wildlife Protection Office, Hanoi and Phnom Penh, Cambodia.Google Scholar
  90. Timmins, R.J., Ou, R. 2001The Importance of Phnom Prich Wildlife Sanctuary and Adjacent Areas for the Conservation of Tigers and Other Key SpeciesWWF, Phnom PenhCambodiaGoogle Scholar
  91. Tohmé, G., Tohmé, H. 2000Quelques nouvelles données sur le statut actuel des Felidae au Liban et plus particulièrement du Chat de Marais Felis chaus Güldenstaedt, 1776Mammalia64247249Google Scholar
  92. Van Peenen P.F.D., Ryan P.H. and Light R.H. 1969. Preliminary Identification Manual for Mammals of South Vietnam. Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  93. Walston, J., Davidson, P., Men, S. 2001A Wildlife Survey of Southern Mondulkiri ProvinceCambodiaWildlife Conservation Society Cambodia ProgramPhnom PenhCambodiaGoogle Scholar
  94. Wang, Z., Wang, S. 1986Distribution and recent status of the Felidae in ChinaMiller, S.D.Everett, D.D. eds. Cats of the World: Biology, Conservation, and ManagementNational Wildlife FederationWashington, DC201209Google Scholar
  95. Wharton, C.H. 1966Man, fireand wild cattle in north CambodiaProceeding of the Tall Timbers Fire Ecology Conference52365Google Scholar
  96. Wharton C.H. 1968. Man, fire, and wild cattle in Southeast Asia. Proceeding of the Tall Timbers Fire Ecology Conference 8: 107–167.Google Scholar
  97. [WCS] Wildlife Conservation Society. 1996. Additional surveys and recommendations on the birds and mammals for the Nam Theun II hydropower project, with emphasis on the proposed corridor and reservoir islands areas. Wildlife Conservation Society, Vientiane, Laos.Google Scholar
  98. Wilkie, P., Saridan, A. 1999The limitations of vernacular names in an inventory study, Central Kalimantan, IndonesiaBiodiversity and Conservation814571467Google Scholar
  99. Wozencraft, W.C. 1993Order CarnivoraWilson, D.E.Reeder, D.M. eds. Mammal Species of the World. A Taxonomic and Geographic Reference. 2nd ednSmithsonian Institution PressWashington, DC279348Google Scholar
  100. Zhang, Y. 1997Distribution of Mammalian Species in ChinaChina Forestry Publishing HouseBeijing, China(chief author)Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. W. Duckworth
    • 1
    Email author
  • C. M. Poole
    • 2
  • R. J. Tizard
    • 3
  • J. L. Walston
    • 2
  • R. J. Timmins
    • 4
  1. 1.East Redham FarmBristolUK
  2. 2.Wildlife Conservation Society Cambodia ProgramPhnom PenhCambodia
  3. 3.R.J. TizardCollege StationUSA
  4. 4.R.J. TimminsMadisonUSA

Personalised recommendations